HT Team at FBI Mobile Command Center, Shiprock NM.
Pictured (left to right): Lynn Sanchez, Anna Pell, Maureen Lomahaptewa,
Kelle Pena, Silver Van Fleet, Heather Atsye
The team taking a well-deserved break from the rescue operation.
Year in Review
As we move into this holiday season, we wanted to take the opportunity
to profile some of the amazing work that our Human Trafficking (HT)
Aftercare team has done over the past year and recognition they
have received at a local and national level.
Over the past 12 months, the HT Aftercare team has :
Worked comprehensively with 185 victims
Connected with 816 unique individuals through our 505-GET-FREE human trafficking hotline.
Partnered with the Homeland Security Blue Campaign to outreach the native American and homeless youth communities which led to 5750 visits to our website between August and September 2021.
Almost exactly one year ago, in November 2020 in the depths of the COVID pandemic, the HT Aftercare team joined a collaborative effort with FBI, Homeland Security, DEA, EPA, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo police, Sheriff’s Department, and various other local law enforcement agencies to directly support displaced Chinese immigrants and others who were rescued from a labor trafficking operation in northwest New Mexico.
These individuals were found to be in poor medical and emotional health, left with no homes, no resources,
and little besides the clothes on their backs. With The Life Link’s assistance, the victims were able to obtain housing, emergency funds, medical care, payment for lost wages, and additional resources to begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.Since the rescue operation, we have continued working with these immigrants in California to connect them to resources there, and some have chosen to move to New Mexico to receive the ongoing support of our team.
In October 2021, the New Mexico Bar Association recognized this important work with a nomination for the “Outstanding Legal Organization Award” for “providing accessible, culturally appropriate, supportive and effective services to human trafficking survivors.” While The Life Link has always endeavored to support our clients with their legal issues, to have the advocacy work of the HT team recognized in this way felt
particularly validating and honoring.
Lynn Sanchez, our Program Director, has participated in very high-level discussions with the US Department of Labor and the White House on issues around labor trafficking, including the plight of labor trafficking victims in our state and all around the country. She was recognized by Advocacy in Action as the “Advocate of the Year” in 2020. Lynn has also been asked by the FBI to provide a white paper on best practices for intervening in labor trafficking situations, and has been interviewed by (and had representative photos published) in numerous local and international sources, including the BBC, Voice of America, Esquire magazine, and many other media outlets.
Links to some of those articles can be found here.
Even after a dozen years of doing this work, our organization continues
to deepen its understanding of the horrific impact of labor trafficking on vulnerable people and our mission of finding and helping these marginalized, invisible people who are suffering life-threatening and
inhumane conditions in these covert industries around our state.
Based on our experiences of the past year, we are more committed
than ever to draw attention to this human rights issue, enhancing
statewide response, and advocating for the victims of these crimes.
Upcoming initiatives for the Human Trafficking program include:
Partnership with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) billboards and awareness events
Annual Human Trafficking Conference, United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
NYC-Based Tambaran Gallery Art Auction with benefits supporting the program
Ongoing operations with law enforcement around the state.
Please visit www.505getfree.org to stay up to date on
all of the events happening.
With limited and dwindling resources to continue this critically important
work, this is an opportunity for you to help by donating directly to our
Human Trafficking Aftercare program.
Unlike many other Life Link programs that are supported by Medicaid and private insurance, our
human trafficking work is for the most part not a reimbursable service and relies on donations
and grant funding to operate. We see it as a critical part of our mission to the community,
however, and invite you to join us in this work with your financial support.
To donate directly to the program, please click on the link here.
We wish you all a blessed and joyful holiday season!